The animals are all abuzz about emergency preparedness this month– let’s listen in!…
FIDO: Fluffy, what on earth is in that big box?

FLUFFY:  It’s our Earthquake Preparedness kit! Mom and Dad said they have one for themselves, and now there’s one for us, too.

FIDO: I didn’t know that pets need an earthquake kit!

FLUFFY: They sure do. There are lots of things moms and dads can do to keep us safe if there’s an earthquake. And these tips will work for any natural disaster, so no matter where we are, this is the kit to have.

FIDO: This is really important. Let’s go tell Pearl and Meryl, so that they can get the word out.

…And so they did! Here’s what’s in Fluffy’s Earthquake Preparedness Kit. What’s in yours?


Please make sure your pet has proper identification. Even indoor pets need this, because in an emergency, they may get frightened and run away. Collars with identification tags are great, but if you can go a step further microchip your pet, that’s even better. Many collars are “breakaway” collars, fancy  designed to let the animal get free if caught on something. If your pet gets out of his collar, and isn’t chipped, your chances of being reunited decrease significantly.

TAKE A PHOTO!: If you do get separated, you’ll want a recent picture to put on signs and carry door-to-door with you as you look for your baby.

Food and Water

Always keep at least one week’s worth of food per pet on hand, and remember your pet when stocking up on water for bowls yourself. In addition to the food and water, don’t forget a capped bowl or two (this will help to keep wet food fresh after it’s been opened), a serving spoon, a can opener, and a bowl for drinking water.




Make sure to have plastic bags, newspaper, paper towels and a litter box in your EQ kit. It’s always good to have extra kitty litter on hand, but it may be a little cumbersome and heavy if you have to evacuate. In that case, feel free to leave it behind. litterbox Soil from the ground will do just as well once you get settled somewhere. You can use the plastic bags as litter liners, and the newspaper will come in handy to use as a mat under and around the box if the stress of the situation results in accidents.


If you give your pet meds on a regular basis, always keep them and all their accoutrements (needles, syringes, gauze pads, pill cutters and crushers, etc.) in one place so that you can grab them easily and add them to the kit.

It’s also a good idea to get meds a basic veterinary first aid book now, read through it, and add the most common items to your kit. You may have to do a little first aid after a disaster, and you’ll want to have the essentials covered. Finally, if your pet has any significant medical issues, keep a current copy of his records in the kit so that any vet can easily follow the protocol.



Keep a few favorite toys in the kit, along with a familiar blanket, grooming supplies, and of course some treats. This will give your pet the scents, taste and feel of home, which go a long way toward calming a frightened animal.


A word of caution:

Remember that a frightened pet may lash out even at those she loves most. Do not try to hold her during an earthquake. Animals are very smart, and have excellent instincts. She will probably find a safer hiding place than you will. After the quake, approach her carefully. If she’s frightened, she may scratch or bite, so be prepared with long sleeves and a towel or blanket to wrap her in if necessary. Unless she is obviously in need of immediate first aid, give her a little time to settle down before you try to pick her up or examine her. She’ll come around when she’s ready.

If you want to purchase a well-stocked emergency kit, try our friends at Tailwaggers. They’ve got them for both cats and dogs! You’ll find them at 1929 N. Bronson in Hollywood, or 801 N. Fairfax in West Hollywood.

We hope you enjoyed these tips, and that you learned something new! We love hearing from you, so please send your questions, comments and ideas to


Meryl Schwarz, M.A., M.Ed., is an animal lover and Certified Professional Coach specializing in grief support for people grieving their beloved animals. Whether you’re grieving a terminal diagnosis, the normal aging process, a disappearance or a death, Meryl offers compassionate and caring support with the wisdom of experience. Visit her website at to schedule an appointment by Skype or phone.